ALP’s push for renewable energy, in stark contrast to the PM’s
support for fossil fuels and industry, has opened up the biggest policy
gap between the ALP and the Coalition, says Steve Lewis in The Australian.
Kim Beazley is making some risky sounds about renewable energy, and
he’ll try to convince the country and Australian industry to be “less
reliant on global fuel trends and more willing to develop home-grown
solutions.” And “winning the debate over greenhouse will be
absolutely vital if Labor is to have any chance of winning in less than
two years’ time.”

we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Coalition’s grip on Canberra,
we should remember that the Howard Government is a “government of the
bean counters, by the bean counters, for the bean counters,” says Alex
Millmow in The Canberra Times. Is there anything more important to
this government than simply balancing the budget or posting a surplus?
Exports have slumped; foreign debt is through the roof; and household
debt has almost doubled since the Coalition came to power. “Sooner or
later the economic chickens are
going to come home and roost and John Howard will have made his
departure, leaving Peter Costello to sort it all out.”

On the back of US President George W Bush’s warmly embraced visit to
Pakistan, and glowing support for Pakistan President Musharraf, the
US’s support for the dictatorship “risks fomenting mass distrust and
anger,” says former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto in The Guardian.
Washington can’t afford to ignore Pakistan, but should not appease it.
The country “could explode into violence and a clerical takeover
because political moderates were not allowed to function,” and the US
needs to be aware of this before it goes on praising the work of a
dictator and bully.

Over the last decade, the niche marketing of entertainment products has forced a significant
social change: where once we watched things and were entertained
together, now we experience things on our own, or with only a small
number of others, say David E Drew and Hedley Burrell in The Christian Science Monitor. Group social experiences “not
only shape a society, they are linked to better health, lower crime
rates, and improved learning.” The social capital that used to be
generated through “going out”, is slowly being lost in a new world of diverse and home
entertainment, and it’s more of a problem than we think.

Women’s liberation “may yet rescue the world from a population calamity,” writes David Horsey in The Seattle Post Intelligencer.
So far the population growth problem “seems so great that it is
tempting to opt for ignorance.” But consider Mexico, whose recently
liberated female population has forced down the country’s high birth
rate. “When women are better educated, when they can find work that
will lift
them from poverty, when they are freed from traditional religious and
cultural practices that subject them to the cruel whims of
unenlightened men, there is an inevitable by-product: They bear fewer

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